Here are some observations from an onlooker whose admitted vantage point of the Persian Gulf war is not along the front line but from the front pages.

Consider the following a glossary of first-thought impressions - some a little philosophical, others perhaps a bit irreverent.Scud missiles: They've inflicted more fear than real damage or loss of life. Radio commentator Larry King dubbed them "dud Scuds" after the two first bombardments of Tel Aviv.

First-ever peace rallies at Brigham Young University: You're right - set the clocks back a quarter century.

Patriot missile: Much, much more successful than the NFL team of the same name.

New war "heroes": After a generation spoon-fed on John Wayne-type war movies, there's a generation raised on Hawkeye Pierce and "M*A*S*H" reruns.

Media coverage: Seems funny that high-tech systems can bring us accounts of the war as it happens - live in our living room - but some two days pass before we can see video footage of the first-night battles.

Sanitized: Perhaps that best describes what we've seen of the war so far - lots of firepower and fear, but little destruction and no death. All we've seen shot down have been unmanned missiles. Bombs explode - but are either viewed by cameras on high- and fast-flying jets or by cameras positioned too far from strike sites to show many particulars. So far, the war seemingly involves little detail and even less death.

"Life goes on": The phrase that allows us to get back to our normal activities and entertainment - a la sports, movies and prime-time shows.

CNN: Previously known as "Chicken Noodle Network" and "the little network that could." But it's been the best reason to stay glued to the tube since the shooting started.

Anti-war activist: An individual who will sometimes go to unethical, illegal and even violent ends to protest for peace.

Threats of terrorism: How comfortable do you really feel here at home?

Euphoria: The military leaders cautioned against it after the first day or two of bombing. Meanwhile, it seemed that members of Congress - at least a number who appeared on televised reports - were the ones basking and boasting in euphoria.

Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Sorry, but the first thing that comes to mind is how long it must take to remove all those medals and decorations whenever his jacket is sent out to the dry cleaners.

Decimate: The buzz word so far of this war.

Sortie: Another buzz word. While it sounds like an adolescent's description of shuffling a deck of playing cards, the word really is a euphemism for bombing missions and similar air strikes.

Propaganda: You have to wonder who they're fooling when Saddam Hussein is swarmed by "groups" during his strolls along Baghdad streets or when apparently coerced anti-war messages are broadcast from U.S. prisoners of war by Iraqi television.

Censors: Wasn't it just a few months ago that censorship involved 2 Live Crew? The latest group of censors taking center stage - and some heat about limiting coverage and video footage - are government and military officials from not just the United States but a number of European and Middle East nations.

Briefing: Doesn't describe the length of the event, just the amount of real information offered.

Discrepancy: The difference of the number of Allied planes shot down as reported by Iraq and the Allied coalition.

Frazzled nerves: Next time you're watching one of the television broadcasters on camera during an air raid, look at their hands shake and twitch. The verbal delivery may seem calm, but the hands are giveaways.

(Scott Taylor, Provo, is a Deseret News sports writer and a former assistant chief of the paper's Utah County Bureau.)